Scion vs MINI, Forbes Takes off the Gloves

Forbes drives the ’05 Cooper and does the unthinkable – compares it to a Scion…

What’s remarkable about this is that the Scion was supposed to have a slow rollout, but clearly the brand has taken off faster than anybody, especially market watchers, expected. But we’re also stunned by how a generation that spurns traditional marketing (hello, TiVo!) has eaten up the Scion with a big gravy spoon. Drive a Scion into a lot, and the teens swarm, especially the xB. Really, it’s happened to this reviewer.

And we have only one response to that: “Sheep!” …That’s right, we’re calling the kids out for what they are, a bunch of babies who don’t know when the marketing whizzes have them right in their dirty little mitts.

And what, pray tell, does all this have to do with the absolutely fun, fast, fuel-sipping, $16,449 Mini Cooper we drove recently? We think a heck of a lot. See, the Mini, although it costs about $3,500 more than the Scion xA, and about $2,000 more than the $13,680 Scion xB, is a way better car by nearly every measure. Style? It has that in spades. Handling? It will run rings around a Scion xA or xB

…Our point is that this is the “kids’ car” the kids don’t see, because BMW’s Mini (yes, BMW owns the brand) hasn’t targeted the kids, and apparently the kids don’t see what the marketers don’t tell them to see. What do we see? Perhaps the best sports car value in history. And oh, by the way, if you drove one back-to-back against a Scion xA or xB, and you were 19, you’d never step back into a Scion ever again.

I think to most of us this kind of thinking is pretty obvious however, I’m sure it’ll send shock-waves through xB owners everywhere. You know the ones who paint not only their front brake calipers red but their rear drums as well :)

You can read the entire article here.

Written By: MF Staff

  • meanboy

    I have a mcs and my coworker has a xB. It's funky but it has a lot of good qualities. One thing I don't understand is why the xA and xB do not have cruise control available.

    As far as putting on a SC on a xB and running it against a MCS..well, it's gonna take more then that to get it to go. But it's your money..if you chose to do that more power to you.

  • sardonicus

    I had an 02 s for two years and loved the car….I traded it in on a xB. I don't love the xB but for a everyday driver it's a lot better than my teeth shaking,run flat riding, S. No it will win no races, or looks contest but it can hold two child safety seats, luggage and still get 35 mpg. These two cars are VERY DIFFERENT and in no way similar so why waste time comparing them?

  • pete

    the mini cooper holds 2 child safety seats, can carry luggage and get 35 mpg depending on how your driving, and it looks a whole lot better

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    The xb can hold 3 child safety seats, carry luggage and a cooler. I believe it too can get the great gas milage, pending driver…. and the it's looks … eye of the beholder.

  • Pud

    Personally, as a 16 year old, i liked the xb when i first heard about it, the new look was my deciding opinion. My parents and i had been looking at cars at that point and we decided to test drive the xb (this before we test drove a mc) It was not that great. :P i pee on it now. lol. We then went and drove the mini. now i am hooked and my mc is on order. I don't think that the marketing for the mini is not geared to the youth, but i know that most of my friends are in love with the car.


  • pete

    noice. have fun with that mini kid, be careful though. as you may have read, my first run with my mcs, i clocked in at 70 down my street. hope none of the neighbors saw it :P haha, what color did you get?damn, i wish i had a mini when i was 16. oh yeah. i did, my old 64' i loved that car :-)

  • http://www.dominationthevideo.com Crush

    My gf is the proud owner of a 2002 mini cooper, and she wouldn't trade it for the world. With that said, I personally like the xB, the xA, and the MINI.

    If I had to choose a car it would matter what exactly I was looking. If you need a car to get your groceries and to hold your kids and what not an xB is a great choice. And at 14-16k doesn't break your wallet. But if you want to enjoy every drive, handle like a go cart and look good doing it, then a mini is the car to have.

    Bottom line i'm going to echo what a lot of people have already said. Different Markets – Different Cars.

    I could easily see a person owning both cars. xB or xA for everyday bump and grind. Mini for fun times on the weekends.

  • pete

    see, to me, the scion XA or XB is like the pair of nasty old nike tennis shoes you wear for PE in high school, and the cooper or cooper s are the nice pair of nikes you wear to look good in front of the ladies

  • Jody

    I own the xb and fell in love with it a year ago. I've never even tested a mini but just by looking at them I would venture to guess my lanky daughter and my infant son my wife and I (I'm 6ft 4in) would have a very hard time fitting in one.
    I traded in my mitsubishi mirage for it have have never looked back. At my height bending down to put children in and out of the car gets old although I'm only 27 (dont look a day over 18). Performance wise I'm satisfied with the xb because it gets the job done. I just feel that any comparisons should be between the xA and the mini and of course the mini would win but the xB is in a completely different league which includes the honda element and the nissan cube (very rare in the states until 2007).

  • andrew

    As a scion tC owner, I think that forbes should have compared it to the tC. The tC is definitely a better looking car than the mini. and i think a better engine, on the basis of upgrading. No offensive to BMW as a brand, because they offer great cars, but the cooper is not the best deal on wheels. Scion definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.

  • common sense

    It's quite comical to see older guys impersonating youth. The 20 year old who refers to his “buds” as “peers” is laughable. Who are you trying to kid? As for an xB, the most vivid driver was a fat middle aged guy who seemed to hog over both seats at once. The scions arent targeted toward old people. The demographic of a Mini is 30-40 of which it has filled nicely. Fart pipe? Yes, genuine, what do you call Harleys? Anal tear cannon? That's what it sounds like to me. As much as I dont like hearing tuner exhausts, I hate Harley's even more. Then again, Harley's have a soul and can be excused right? Despite, it's hideous sounds. A scion is an econobox while a Mini has a soul? It's an idiotic statement that deserves no explanation.

    By the way, Minis are not advertised toward the youth. scions are (yes, scion is purposely spelled in lower case by the company). scions have outsold expectations. Why? Because, despite its intended demographic, even old people are buying scions. Numbers no one can deny.

    These comments posted here are a testament to the phrase, “old people don't get young people”. Youths arent buying the cars because they havent driven a Mini, it's about image, it's about customizing their cars, but mostly it's about being different from what your dad would drive.

  • Ravi

    To start with, Mini's rival is scion tc. noy scion xA, or xB. lookslike whoever wrote it doesnot even know about tc. Compare with tc. Result will be closer. Ofcourse, mini might win for handling. But scionhas value with it($2000 less than cooper s). Think twice before publishing something on web.

  • Anthony

    I am in a situation right now where i'm in between a scion tC and a mini. I've been in love with the mini for quite some time, but I am also a 22 yr old in college on a slim budget. Right now, Im leaning at the tC, based on the feature:price ratio. The mini is an extremely great car, but maintenance is also going to be more expensive on it, cuz its still a bmw. Indeed the mini drives better than the tC, but I dont know if that constitutes me struggling to work more hours to afford it. If i had the extra few grand, ya, i'd buy a mini, but right now, i want something reliable, cheap to maintain, but still has the pep and style to keep me happy. maybe 5 or 6 years down the line, I'll trade this in for a mini, but for now, its tC for me.

    oh yeah, I'm over 6 feet tall, so the tC gives me a couple extra inches ;)

  • rob

    There are thousands of dollars seperating these 2 vehicles. Why would anyone even compare the two is beyond me. May as well compare the new Suburban against the CRV, that's how retarted this is.

  • hayato

    i have been driving the tc for about two months now and some body has already hit and runned it 800 dollars worth of damage but thats another story. This car is very agile if you know how to keep the balance of a car through a turn the lift off oversteer is dangerouse for inexperienced drivers but i think to go auto crossing will be fun. the interior design is great i wish it came with leather option but i can get that through kat skin for about 1300. This car cannot be compared with the cooper s wich i have also drivin the cooper s is very elegant in design and keeping the retro look with the new. i loved the first ones and the new ones are as peppy. Sorry to tell all you mini lovers out there but the new one with out the supercharger is very poor for its price the stock scion 5 speed is very balanced in power in handling. Also there is a supercharger option out now for the tc from factory so this will give mini a run for there money. Also if you guys or gurls are weekend worriers on the scca circuit the parts for the scion that are trd and warranted through toyota are very inexpensive and easy to install. And for all you ricers out there is alot of room in the engine compartment to put down 10 grand worth of work and put rediculouse horse power out of the tc. i have a 5 speed tc white im 21 this car is as fun as the 1986 corolla gts

  • Oscar

    My only exposure to the Mini, besides seeing a few around town, was the mass marketing campaign that BMW displayed prior to and during its US launch. There's no arguing its (BMW or Mini) strong heritage, and its BMW management makes the car that much more appealing. Good reliability and owner satisfaction make it a very good buy.

    Being in the sub-30, male age demographic, I recently purchased a Scion tC. I was well-aware of the brand due to the very aggressive advertising campaign that Toyota produced, but that did not sway me to buy the car.

    I despise the “ricer” culture that, in my opinion, ruin otherwise decent cars like the tC, or the toaster-esque xB. It amuses me to read posts on “enthusiast” sites that question how a normally-aspirated TC would fare versus pavement pounders, like the Corvette Z06 (DUH). I also love the assortment of cheaply-made parts that you see in stores and on the web.

    I know that there are nicer, more expensive cars out there, and I'm know there are lots of cars that would put my tC to shame in a speed duel. My response is, who cares? I bought my tC because I am a fan of Toyota reliability, and I got a great bargain with my tC.

    Why is it that adults, who are supposed to set examples for young'uns have to reduce themselves to elementary levels by boasting that their car can “smoke” another car?

    Rock on with your bad self.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    Yeah I'm not sure either.

  • a6

    recently picked up a tC, but test drove a mini during the shopping process. while i love the mini performance, i'm not too wild about the body style. don't get me wrong, i respect a design that's willing to challenge the status quo, but it's just not my cup of tea (incidentally although i despise the body styles, i also respect the xB in this regard).

    it's really hard to say no to a tC … the price to feature ratio is hard to beat. while the stock tC might not whip around the corners as well as a mini, it's performance is nothing to scoff. the interior is fairly roomy and the overall interior design is impressive. although i'm not crazy about modding, the aftermarket parts world is going to explode around the tC. if that's you're thing, you'll have a lot to choose from 6 months down the road from now.

    in any case, just my input. i do believe as far as brand battles go, a tC to mini comparison is a bit more apple-to-apple than say, the xB. =]

  • http://www.gbmini.net/ Ian

    18′ rims! Wow ;) As tall as a house …

  • Warren

    I just don’t get it. Why would you compare a Mini to an XB? I love both cars but understand that their dimensions, horsepowers, and features serve different audiences. It’s not necessary to affirm your decision in purchasing one by demeaning the other. One is faster than the other, one has more room than the other, one manuevers better than the other. So what? Drive both and drive away with the one that suits your needs, and let folks who think that their cars give them their personalities duke it out on the road.

  • Blueapple

    I agree. Drive what suits you the best.

  • mike

    The only conclusion I can draw by reading the comparison: the fact that Scion Xb is even compared to MINI is a testament of how successful Scion Xb is, considering the price difference of several thousand dollars.

  • George

    OK– I just read the whole email chain because I love the Mini but plan to buy an xA — and I’m 53. I can afford the Mini but I’m turned off by the $1,500 over-list price the dealer is changing in the Washington DC area — and the nearest dealer is 18 miles outside of Washington. After living in Europe for a couple of years, American-style cars seem grotesquely oversized to me. I’m looking for a small commuter car in which I don’t have to sit on the ground. My son loves his Accura RSX but I find the seating (legs sticking straight out) uncomfortable. The xA seats feel great — amazingly high for a compact car. I drove an xB too. I love the space but the car felt clunkly compared to the xA. And every time I look at the back I see a hearse. A real turnoff. Interestingly, my teenage daughters hate all these cars — Mini Cooper, xA, and xB. They say the looks suck. They want an SUV — preferably the Xtera, but they’d settle for a RAV4 or equivalent. I want an econocar that feels like a quality vehicle, and the xA fills the bill at a great price. Sure I’d rather have the Mini, but it requires premium gas on top of the price premium. I like a bargain.

  • Jacob

    im 16 right now and looking 4 a fast little car that i could fix up. im what most people would call a tuner kid right now i drive a Jeep wrangler and i hate it i have no idea why my parents wanted 2 get me it after i had talked about many different fast cars and no suv’s or offroaders. but ne way i was wondering what all of you would think a good car for me would be for when i get out of highschool in 2 years. i have been looking at a MCS and a Tc but im not sure if they are as fast as i want. i was thinking more along the lines of a Subaru Sti. yes the mini is fast but the parts are so expensive for them. as far as the Tc goes the styling is ok but im not sure if i could make it really GO if you know what i mean. so ne way i would just like some of your opinions on what kind of car i should pick.

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